This is What You Wanted

Any parent who has had young kids takes a minute to remind younger parents with babies of this. Yes, you want them to start crawling, but as soon as they do, you’ll miss being able to set them down and not having to worry they’ll move.

The funny thing is, if you think about it, pretty much all phases of parenting are some version of it. 

You just want some peace and quiet…from the same kid you just spent all that time trying to teach their first words to. You’re exhausted…from chasing down the kid you were worried was slow in taking their first steps. You’re cleaning off the walls…drawn on by the kid you wanted to be left handed just like you, the one you bought the special pencil grip for. You’re frustrated by the attitude of your teenager…who is expressing the independence you craved when they were clinging all over you. And now you’re pacing your empty nest…recently left by the kid you thought would never grow up and get their act together. 

We have to understand that what we want as parents is paradoxical. We want things to be easy and yet we know that all the good developments will be hard. We have to anticipate that there is going to be pain in all the phases of this job we signed up for. We have to understand that even our successes are going to be slightly bittersweet—and sometimes just plain bitter. 

When we get it, we have to remind ourselves, “This is what I wanted.” We have to remember that it’s better than the alternative—that we’d rather be chasing them than not, being talked back to than not, having them be independent than not. It won’t be easy, it will drive us nuts, it will sometimes break our heart, but such is our fate.

P.S. This was originally sent on June 8, 2021. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”